Besides trademarks and trade names, the domain name of the business is currently subject to quite a lot of infringement.
The domain name, as specified in 24/2015/TT-BTTTT of the Ministry of Information and Communications is “the name used to identify the Internet address of the server consisting of sequences of characters separated by dots”.
Businesses in Vietnam when registering domain names usually only register “.vn” as it is the national domain name or only register top-level domain names that can be considered international domain names such as “.com“, “.net“, “.org“, “.edu“, etc. Thus, may cause disputes between national domain names and international domain names.
For example, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. owns the domain name “samsungmobile.com” (international domain name) and ViTechNet Joint Stock Company registers the domain name “samsungmobile.vn” (national domain name). Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has filed a lawsuit in Court.
To prevent unwanted lawsuits, registering the national domain name for the business and registering the domain name of the enterprise should include both the common domain name and the national domain name that is suitable to the field of operation of the enterprise (“.com.vn” for the organization, individuals engaged in commercial activities; “.org.vn” for organizations in the political, cultural, social spheres, etc.)
In addition, the Vietnam Internet Center, a unit under the Ministry of Information and Communications (VNNIC) encourages businesses to use the national domain name “.vn” associated with websites and emails to exploit the value of digital resources in the digital economy and digital society activities, thereby contributing to the formation, universalize basic digital skills for people and businesses.
For businesses whose domain names are already owned by other entities, businesses can choose to negotiate the acquisition of domain names.
In case the domain name is in dispute, enterprises can apply the provisions of Article 16 of Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP, and choose the option to settle the dispute such as negotiation, conciliation, or file a lawsuit to the Court or settlement through arbitration.
And for domains that are in legal use, the simplest way to protect a domain name is to pay a fee to maintain it. For example, with “.vn” domain names, according to Circular 21/2021/TT-BTTTT, within 25 days from the date of suspension of domain name operation, if the domain name registrant pays the fee to maintain the domain name as prescribed, they will be able to continue using the registered domain name.
Comparing the measures to negotiate, initiate lawsuits, or settle by arbitration when there is a dispute, domain name registration is a simple job, businesses need to consider registering domain names early to protect their rights.